Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter and the concept of Integrated Border Management.
To help identify migratory patterns as well as trends in cross-border criminal activities, Frontex analyses data related to the situation at and beyond EU’s external borders. It monitors the situation at the borders and helps border authorities to share information with Member States. The agency also carries out vulnerability assessments to evaluate the capacity and readiness of each Member State to face challenges at its external borders, including migratory pressure.
Frontex coordinates and organises joint operations and rapid border interventions to assist Member States at the external borders, including in humanitarian emergencies and rescue at sea. The agency deploys European Border and Coast Guard teams, including a pool of at least 1 500 border guards and other relevant staff to be deployed in rapid interventions. The members of the rapid reaction pool must be provided by Member States upon request by the agency. It also deploys vessels, aircraft, vehicles and other technical equipment provided by Member States in its operations. In addition, Frontex may carry out operations on the territory of non-EU countries neighbouring at least one Member State, in case of migratory pressure at a non-EU country’s border.
Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard, supports Member States with screening, debriefing, identification and fingerprinting of migrants. Officers deployed by the agency refer and provide initial information to people who need, or wish to apply for, international protection, cooperating with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and national authorities. It is the national authorities, not Frontex, who decide which person is entitled to international protection.
The agency assists EU Member States in forced returns of people who have exhausted all legal avenues to legitimise their stay within the EU. This help includes obtaining travel documents for the returnees by working closely with consular authorities of the relevant non-EU countries. It can also organise voluntary departures of nationals of non-EU countries who were issued return decisions by Member State authorities. Frontex also organises return operations on its own initiative and “collecting return operations”, where returnees are returned with escort officers and transportation provided by their countries of origin. It has created several pools of return experts to be deployed in Member States when needed.
Frontex supports the cooperation between law enforcement authorities, EU agencies and customs at sea borders. Vessels and aircraft deployed in its operations also collect and share information relevant to fisheries control, detection of pollution and compliance with maritime regulations. The agency works closely with European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to implement multipurpose operations. In these operations, vessels and aircraft deployed for border surveillance can also be used for fishing and environmental monitoring.
Frontex focuses on preventing smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism as well as many other cross-border crimes. It shares any relevant intelligence gathered during its operations with relevant national authorities and Europol.
The agency is the centre of expertise in the
area of border control. It develops training curricula and specialised courses
in a variety of areas to guarantee the highest levels of professional knowledge
among border guards across Europe. It also supports search and rescue
operations that arise during border surveillance operations at sea.